Executable Dreamtime is a duet between man and machine, in which each component acts as composer and curator. Brett Naucke creates the patches, then stands back to watch what they will do, like a parent accompanying his children to the playground. When needed, he steps in, makes an adjustment (just like soothing a skinned knee), and lets them go again. Naucke calls the process “transcribing (recurring) dreams”, which seems a slippery process until one realizes that the melodies are never far from the fore. Taming that which seems untamable, he finds a framework on which to hang his imaginings.
The tape’s most beautiful moments arrive in “1028 Modulated Tunnels”, a three-minute track that ends far too soon. The busy bell tones are reminiscent of Scott Smallwood’s generative installation Coronium (Lucie’s Halo) from the Garden of Sonic Delights; one can imagine the sun breaking through, tickling the batteries and making them sing. On “Dying Season 93′”, these tones grow even more playful, but are relegated to the background, nearly microscopic in volume. The irony of the piece is that the piano sounds like the “dying season”, while the modular synthesizer sounds like a newborn child. And indeed the piano does die, or at least disappear, after this piece, having entered only long enough to create a stark contrast. From this time forward, the contrast will be lighter: ambient tones like passing clouds, bearing the droplets of synth.
As the album progresses, the long notes grow longer, the short notes sparser. “The Space Between Twins” is nearly nebulous, a slowly morphing amoeba of sound. The final track, “Mouth to Mouth”, contrasts the restful and the hyperactive, seemingly suffering from insomnia. But then the percolating synths relax, coaxing the listener from active to passive listening, and perhaps even to sleep. And if dreams should come, Naucke will be ready to transcribe them once more, to make them melodic, to provide tunes for the tunings of the mind. (Richard Allen)